Patrick Dempsey got behind the wheel of the Autism Speaks #29 Mazda MX-5 racecar at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières in Quebec on August 19, 2007 and drove his way to 11th place out of 29-cars. This was his first appearance in the Mazda MX-5 Cup championship series this year and he was proud to represent autism awareness.
Patrick Dempsey with the Autism Speaks #29 Mazda MX-5
Dempsey, the star of ABC's hit show Grey's Anatomy, recognizes the important role Autism Speaks plays in the lives of families affected by autism spectrum disorder.
“We're seeing more cases of autism being diagnosed and we don't know where it's coming from or why it's happening,” Dempsey said. “I have two young sons and it's certainly a concern of mine. I think for anyone who's a parent and anyone who has to go through this, it's a difficult thing, but there's a lot of help out there. The big thing is to be aware and watch if you have a newborn. Talk to your doctor to educate yourself about it. That's why it's great to be a part of Autism Speaks.”
Dempsey, an avid racing fan and driver, has been busy working on a new movie and could not compete in the series until this past weekend. He qualified the Autism Speaks Mazda MX-5 in the 16th position and worked his way up to 11th by the end of the race.
The owner of the car, professional race driver and driver coach, Marc Miller, and his family have been personally
Dempsey, right, with Mike Miller, the Autism Speaks #29 Mazda MX-5
touched by autism. His son, Evan, was recently diagnosed with the disorder. The Holland, Mich. native approached Autism Speaks prior to the first race of the season to offer up whatever support he could and the “puzzle piece” logo has been prominently displayed in each race since.
“Before Evan was diagnosed, I had very little clue as to what autism was,” said Miller. “I wanted an outlet so that my family could share with others what we have learned over the past couple of years. I am very thankful to AutismSpeaks.org for working with me to help spread awareness of autism spectrum disorders. It has been a very meaningful project for my entire family. I hope to continue to be an advocate throughout my racing career.”
Dempsey will be back behind the wheel for the final round of the Mazda MX-5 Cup championship on September 14-15 at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“Patrick has been incredibly supportive and very gracious in lending his support to autism awareness,” continued Miller. “He is also quite a good race driver with a lot of passion and focus. I am looking forward to working with him again at the next race and hopefully have an even stronger finish for the Autism Speaks MX-5.”